Link watched Seaweed lead Penny to a spot amidst the teenagers before he turned to the short beaming girl beside him. Since setting foot in Maybelle's record store, Link had watched her face glow with awe and delight. Not for the first time Link's breath caught in his throat as he observed her excitement.
His smile was almost shy as he offered Tracy his hand, and together they joined the others dancing. It was slow and steady, a comfortable arm's length between them as they moved in circles to the music.
This was different from dancing on the Corny Collins Show, where every dance had been practiced to perfection with assigned partners. Here everyone simply moved to the rhythm of the music. Link hadn't felt more nervous and at ease at the same time dancing with Tracy before. He didn't have to remember what steps to do. Instead he could admire the girl before him. He liked this.
Noises of shoes scuffling over the floor and quiet voices murmuring filled Link's ears, and he felt the body heat from the other kids dancing close by. All that fell away, though, when Tracy lifted her gaze up to his face and he lost himself in those chocolate brown pools.
He snapped out of his trance and blinked. Noticing the light dimming in her eyes, he bit the inside of his bottom lip. He waited.
"Aren't you going to get in awful trouble for this?" her words were laced with concern, and her eyes were uncertain – a contrast to the music and dancing they were taking part in.
"Not planning on telling my dad," Link quickly assured her, touched by her worry. Lazily he bobbed his head in time to the music.
"No," she elaborated hesitantly, "I mean in trouble with someone else."
He didn't answer right away. He could get in trouble for coming here if Mrs. von Tussle found out. No, she would not be too pleased. Neither would Amber, for that matter. But was that the only thing Tracy meant by "this" or…
"Hmm, maybe," he admitted, his tone light. He glanced away from her searching gaze and discovered the arm's length distance between them had shrunk to only two or three inches. He hadn't been this close to her since he ran into her, all dolled up in her new pink dress, on her way to the ice cream shop over a week ago. He could see the few freckles dusting her cheeks. And her brown, blond-highlighted hair looked so soft in the light. For one short moment he considered closing the gap between them; he didn't.
"Maybe it's worth it," he went on, leaning down a little. A slow smile broke out over Tracy's face. He smiled in return. Link took the plunge, "I think knowing you is the start of a pretty big adventure." He felt his insides melting, watching her react to his sort-of confession. Tracy blushed, her smile grew, and her eyes softened as she gazed up at him.
She looked so pretty... He really would like nothing more than to kiss her right now, here in the middle of the store. Would she let him? Could he gently run his fingers through her hair and see if it was as soft as it looked?
His smile vanished as he looked at her intensely and slowly moved closer to her as they danced. Her expression was curious at his seriousness. When he bent down towards her, her eyes widened but she did not step back.
Steadily holding her gaze, his stomach going flip-flop, his voice was a bare whisper, "Trace…"
"Tracy Edna Turnblad!"
They both jumped. Stepping back a respective distance, Link silently groaned. Overwhelmingly disappointed, he watched along with everyone else as Mrs. Turnblad strode into the store.